Organizing and Maximizing RV Storage Like a Professional

At the RV SuperShow in Tampa this past January, we partnered with professional organizers to brainstorm the best way to maximize RV storage and give a demonstration to campers in the audience. Our partners were Jamie Andrieu and Hillary Forst of Sorted & Styled, a Tampa, Florida-based professional home organization service.

Now we’re bringing their tips to Heartland RV fans at home. We asked them about how they started their business, the way they approached finding ideal RV solutions, and what real people can do to keep their campers clean and tidy while living life to its fullest. Here’s what they said.

How did you first start organizing as a business?

We started as friends before we embarked on our journey as professional organizers during the pandemic. We recognized the need for order and structure with an aesthetic appeal while people were spending more time at home. We used our experience as teachers and small business owners as a foundation for creating organized systems. Then we added a beautiful design element to the art of organization.

What do your clients tend to have in common?

Our clients have one goal in common: they all have a desire to reclaim control over their work or living spaces. Many feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Sometimes they need assistance in the editing process and need help envisioning how tranquil and productive their lives can be.

When it comes to organizing an RV instead of a house, how did you approach it differently?

There are several major differences between organizing an RV and organizing a house. We had to find creative solutions for extra narrow storage areas, multifunctional spaces, and spaces that quite literally MOVE. Everything had to feel like a custom fit and secure in place for when the RV was in motion.

Which RV features gave you a head start on organizing?

Organizing the Heartland Corterra

When we organized the Heartland Corterra, its features gave us a big leg up. It has a ton of built-in storage, both inside and out. Its pantry is huge and there are tons of cabinets and cubbies all over, perfect for storing items together. RVs should utilize all the spaces they can for storage, both way high up and down low. The Cortera absolutely does that, and it gave us a lot of different areas we could customize for our purposes.

What are some of your favorite organizing tricks that work particularly well for RVs?

Using pegboards, hooks, and adhesives can create more organization without compromising on space.

We love adhesive and suction cup products for RVs, like bins and hooks, because you can mount them almost anywhere and you don’t do permanent damage to the surfaces. They’re perfect for the internal side of doors, cabinetry, bathrooms, and adding hanging storage wherever else you need it.

We also LOVE using pegboards in RVs. They can be used for so many things, and they’re great at keeping items from moving around when the RV is on the road. You can use them for crafts, gaming, cooking, toiletries, tools, and so much more. The options are endless.

At the Tampa show, after talking with RVers in person, what do their biggest organizational challenges seem to be?

The biggest challenge we heard from RVers was a lack of functional storage solutions. Many RV drawers and cabinets are not standard residential sizes, they’re custom-fitted to each model. That presents a challenge when you use standard sizes of storage containers and baskets.

Baskets and bins can keep organizing simple when traveling.

The solution is to get creative. We used organizing containers in unique ways:

  • A magazine holder became storage for cutting boards and cookie sheets.
  • A lazy susan became a cleaning supply organizer under the sink.
  • A shoe organizer that hangs over the door became an arts and crafts and toy station for kids. (This one was our favorite.)

A shoe organizer can double as a space to keep kids items tidy while organizing

How do you approach storage solutions for a couple vs. a family with a bunch of young kids?

Families with young children have needs that are always evolving. The food kids like to eat changes with time, their wardrobes change as they get bigger, and toys are constantly coming and going. We keep organizing at its most basic so that systems can change to meet family needs.

Organizing with kids can be tricky, but not impossible.

Couples without kids in the house usually have a well-established routine in place. They can support a more tailored, customized organizational system. Clients with children have to be able to adapt their systems to change and grow on a day-to-day basis.

We like bins and containers that can be used for different purposes as interests change. For families, we make sure to use plastic instead of glass. Smaller, lightweight bins with pictures on the labels make it easy for kids to help keep their stuff tidy, too. If a bin of Legos is too heavy for them to lift or they can't read the label, they’ll struggle to put their toys away, and that can cause frustration for both kids and parents.

What strategies do you love to use when it comes to organizing clothes in a small space?

Organizing clothing in small spaces requires a bit of discipline. The best way to utilize drawer space is with consistent compact folding and drawer dividers. Dividers maintain different zones for different clothing items, and compact folding lets you see everything at a glance – which makes it easier to use. Every day, spend a few minutes maintaining these spaces by refolding unworn clothes, putting dirty clothes into a laundry basket, and keeping your zones divided and in order.

How would you approach organizing under-bed storage?

Under-bed storage is best used for items you need less often, like out-of-season clothing, extra bedding, and items you buy in bulk. For out-of-season clothing, especially bulkier cold-weather items, we LOVE a vacuum seal bag to make sure you're getting the most out of the available space.

Most RV bathrooms are pretty small. What are the most important elements of maximizing storage in a bathroom that multiple people share?

The most important part of organizing a bathroom multiple people use is giving them a system that makes sense for them. Items used by everyone can be grouped together, but anything individually owned should have its own area, if possible. You could give everyone their own towel hook, for example, and a different color towel for each person. Or add separate adhesive-mounted bins or shelves for each person in the family, so they can store their bath stuff in the bathroom but keep it tidy and out of everyone else’s way.

What are some of your favorite storage items that do double duty?

Double-duty storage is so fun for small spaces. We love ottomans and benches that have storage inside and under-the-bed storage in RVs. Pretty woven baskets or wall shelving with hooks can do double duty by making storage both functional and part of your interior decor style.

Which areas of your own homes do you still find challenging to keep tidy, even as professional organizers?

As professional organizers, we spend all day with clients making their homes into beautiful functional spaces. Once we get home, we’ve already spent hours organizing with our clients, and we just want to pause and spend time with our families. Staying organized requires regular maintenance. But we both fully believe that an organized home is worth the effort, so we try to find the balance between spending quality time with our families and keeping our homes in order.

What message would you give other people who feel intimidated by organizing?

Start somewhere small. You don't need to begin with a kitchen overhaul or master closet revamp. Look for a drawer in your home that could use some love and just start there!

We recommend a junk drawer because it’s so satisfying and it gets you thinking about all the questions you need to ask yourself. For example: How do you determine if you still need something? Which storage products can you use in the drawer? How do you use the drawer items in your home?

Or you could start by organizing your kitchen utensils or getting matching spice jars. Once you get the basics down and see the transformation, it becomes so addicting!

Where can campers source affordable storage solutions that fit in with their existing interior decor?

You'd be surprised how many places offer storage solutions these days. As a team, we love shopping at the Container Store, Target, and Amazon. We don’t recommend buying things on sale at random stores, because if you ever need more items to match what you bought, they won’t be there. So, we like to shop at retailers that have offered their lines of products for a long time. It lets you buy as you go, so you won’t pay for things you don’t need, and you don’t have to have it all figured out before you start, which can feel intimidating.

If you’re just looking for a few small things to get started, places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, dollar stores, and other discount retailers can have a surprising amount of stuff to help you begin organizing your home.

Why should campers invest time in organizing their RVs?

Organizing an RV isn't just about making it tidy. It can profoundly enhance the camping experience, too.

You make it easier to find the items you need, which saves time and frustration. A clutter-free space fosters comfort and relaxation and gives you a peaceful space to unwind after your adventures. Organizing your RV can save you money, too, by letting you find items more easily so you don’t overbuy small things like batteries. All that time, money, and energy is better spent doing the things you actually want to do.

If the sky was the limit, what would your dream road trip within the US include?

Variety. We would love to see all the different types of terrain that our country has to offer. We want to see the lush Pacific Northwest, the one-of-a-kind views of the desert, mountain views, and foggy lake mornings. That's one part of RV life we are so envious of, the freedom to experience all the things!

Anything else you want to tell campers at home?

Don’t feel intimidated to start organizing if it interests you. Campers are some of the most adventurous people we know. We have faith that you can achieve an organized RV if it’s important to you, and then you can enjoy the freedom that comes from having a home that works exactly how it should so you can have a stress-free trip.